Message from the MD 2018

Course development

In June 2017, we launched our game-changing SkillsPoints initiative while showcasing our students’ extraordinary talents at last year’s successful Vivid festival. SkillsPoints are a key One TAFE innovation that we are proud to be taking forward. This initiative has been built from the ground up and reflects a complete overhaul of the way TAFE NSW develops, teaches, and maintains course curriculum.

The objective of SkillsPoints is to provide standardised, nationally-recognised training packages for more than 1,200 TAFE NSW courses, and addresses a Productivity Commission finding that TAFE qualifications had often been outdated by the time students completed their studies.

SkillsPoints, as their central precept, will engage with industry to ensure our students finish their studies with precisely the skills they require to hit the ground running. They will be focused not just on current workforce requirements but will also look ahead to what will be needed from our workforce of the future.

Two of nine industry-specific SkillsPoints headquarters have been established with the remaining seven to be rolled out across the State in the first half of this year. SkillsPoints have been warmly received by industry for the role they will play in ensuring our course offerings are relevant and that our graduates are job-ready.

Delivering state-of-the-art learning centres in our regions

Over the past few months, TAFE NSW has opened its first four Connected Learning Centres at Quirindi, Tenterfield, Coonabarabran and Glen Innes, demonstrating our commitment to providing a broader range of training opportunities to people in regional NSW. Connected Learning Centres are already supporting a surge in enrolments in these areas.

This year, we’ll open more Connected Learning Centres and invest in more Mobile Training Units, as well as a new Digital Portal to harness the latest in virtual and augmented reality learning. The Connected Learning Centres will leverage products developed by the Digital Learning Lab that we launched in Armidale in December 2017.

Systems and solutions

Ahead of our Semester One 2018 enrolment campaign, we launched the first phase of a new Student Management Services solution to support marketing and lead tracking. Capturing our new CRM and student enrolments system, this is arguably the largest tertiary sector system implementation in Australia. It will significantly improve the student experience, better support our staff and resolve the considerable data and revenue recognition issues that led to a decision by the Auditor-General in 2015 to qualify the TAFE NSW accounts.

As outlined in the Acting Auditor-General’s report from last year, our accounts are no longer qualified and we are well advanced on the complex task of unpicking 11 unique systems for management of more than half a million enrolments per year.

Department of Education extraction process

Concurrent with these changes we have been busy extracting 300 systems from the Department of Education. These include business process outsourcing for finance, HR and procurement. We have made this possible by establishing an industry-leading private cloud. Recently we implemented Contractor Central to manage contingent labour – a huge step from where we were a year ago.

By the end of this year, we’ll also start operating as a single Registered Training Organisation, which will assist in reducing overlap, waste and duplication across the organisation. This is one of the back-of-house reforms you won’t read much about in the paper, but which will contribute to efficiencies as we compete for market share against universities and other well-funded private sector providers.

TAFE NSW Review of Disability Services

Since October 2017, the Hon. Morris Iemma, former Premier of NSW and TAFE NSW Board member, has been leading an independent review into our organisation’s disability services. A steering committee has been established, which includes experts from academia, government and the disability employment sector. The review will deliver its final report by November 2018.

The Review will develop recommendations to address inconsistencies in delivering disability services and will examine how the NDIS will affect our students. This work will include identifying opportunities for TAFE NSW to train the NDIS workforce.

Making TAFE NSW a first choice option

Our Be Ambitious campaign has brought TAFE NSW into the 21st Century, and positioned vocational education as a valid and rewarding first choice option for students. Since the launch of this campaign we have seen an enormous uptick in online engagement with TAFE NSW, including 3.84 million clicks on digital ads and a 46.5 per cent increase in annual web traffic.

Our focus for 2018 remains on our students and staff as we complete the consolidation phase of our 2016-2022 Strategic Plan. Working in a contestable market, we will diversify into the business-to-business sector in March to ensure sustainable growth.

We will look to leverage some of our existing partnerships to that end, which include Cisco, Woolworths, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Telstra, to name but a few. With NSW facing an unprecedented skills shortage, our reforms are too important to fail.